Once a client has decided they are ready to file for divorce, a common question they ask our team of family law attorneys is how they go about serving their spouse with the divorce paperwork. After all, serving these papers ensures the divorce process can move forward through the legal system, hopefully resulting in the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
Unless your spouse agrees to waive service, your spouse must be served with the initial divorce papers as quickly as possible. But the good news is that this critical responsibility is not something you have to worry about doing yourself. In fact, you aren’t personally allowed by law to be the server.
How is Divorce Paperwork Served?
A constable, sheriff, or private process server can serve your spouse, and they have several options to make this happen:
- Delivered personally — The constable or sheriff delivers the papers to your spouse and physically hands them the paperwork, either at their home or work. Naturally, they will provide you with proof that your spouse was served with divorce papers.
- By registered or certified mail — The same server also has the option to mail the divorce papers to your spouse by registered or certified mail. Your spouse must sign a return receipt and return it to the county clerk to prove they were served.
- Substituted service by Court order — This usually comes into play when the constable or sheriff was unsuccessful in serving your spouse in person or by certified mail. Once you have filed a Motion for Substituted Service, a judge will grant permission to have your spouse served in another way that can also prove that it took place.
Additional methods exist to serve your spouse should the above methods fail.
What To Do If You’ve Been Served
While every case is different, here are some quick legal steps that are typical after being served divorce paperwork:
Read the notice immediately
A common mistake is to put the documents aside or ignore them entirely. Like many legal notices, there are deadlines to file a response, and in Texas, the deadline to answer a divorce petition is 10 a.m. on the Monday after 20 days have gone by since you were served with papers. This includes weekends and holidays. Therefore, it is important to read the divorce papers quickly so that you are aware of what is expected of you moving forward. The court could grant your spouse a default judgment if you fail to respond.
Consult with a divorce attorney
Even if you read the divorce papers, you will undoubtedly have questions, comments, and additional concerns about your unique situation. You may also be confused about the deadline, your rights, and what might happen next. This is where an attorney can help. Some cases require aggressive advocacy, while others require patience, de-escalation, and diplomatic solutions.
File a response
Your attorney will guide you on properly answering the divorce petition. Doing so ensures that your voice will be heard should you decide to fight certain aspects related to child custody, asset division, spousal maintenance, etc. At the same time, your rights are protected moving forward, preventing your spouse from requesting a default judgment.
Please call Christman Daniell Attorneys, for your legal needs today!
Looking for expert family law services in Collin County, Texas? Christman Daniell Attorneys is your premier choice. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the legal landscape in cities like Allen, Anna, Blue Ridge, Carrollton, Celina, Colleyville, Dallas, Fairview, Farmersville, Frisco, Garland, Josephine, Lavon, Lowry Crossing, Lucas, McKinney, Melissa, Murphy, Nevada, New Hope, Parker, Plano, Princeton, Prosper, Richardson, Royse City, Sachse, Saint Paul, Van Alstyne, Weston, and Wylie, our skilled team is dedicated to helping families navigate complex legal matters. Whether it’s divorce, child custody, or adoption, trust Christman Daniell Attorneys to provide compassionate and effective representation for all your family law needs throughout Collin County.
Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. The material on this website and in this or any blog article we publish are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The attorneys at Christman Daniell Attorneys, believe in tailoring legal advice and solutions to your own personal circumstances.
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